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the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly


GOD TALK The Ganesha you didn’t know 12

AYYOTOONS A full page of Narendra Modi 11 CONFERENCE Comic artists in love with mythology 26


Volume 1 | Issue 6 | September 20, 2012 | Rs 10

SPOT REPORT Gang wars on the city’s outskirts 3

BLOOM TOWN Bangalore’s magical flower markets gear up for the festival season Pages 14-17

talk|20 sep 2012|



Mary and Bangalore’s big heart I was really thrilled to read the article Why Mary wears a sari by Savie Karnel in Talk’s 5th issue—it is awesome. Though I am not a Kannadiga, after reading that article, I felt as if I had explored all of Karnataka. It meant a lot: unity in diversity, one state with many religions but one faith—that of humanism. I am stunned and in love with Bangalore, which was the basis for such a wonderful article. Looking forward to more such pieces in the future. Thank you, Savie and Talk. Keep up the good work. All the very best. Supriya Sinha Roy by email Interesting blend of stories Rarely have newspaper ventures by young entrepreneurs succeeded in Bangalore, but I wish Talk— which was tossed onto my porch this morning—connects with the inscrutable Bangalorean. I just finished browsing through this well edited, neatly packaged paper with an interesting blend of stories. Out of curiosity, I squinted to catch the imprint line and recognised some of the

talented names associated with the publication. Undoubtedly, Bangalore needs more local papers amplifying local voices. This city could do with some fresh exploration. Guys, good luck! Chethan Krishnaswamy by sms Confusing story Your cover story on pulp fiction (Issue 4) was confusing. What qualifies as pulp fiction, one which sells more or one which revolves around a crime? If we take Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov, Alistair Maclean, Frederick Forsyth and Arthur Hailey, they are all pulp writers then. In Kannada, Ta Ra Su, and Aa Na Kru of bygone days, and S L Bhyrappa writing today, would be pulp writers. Or do you mean literary fiction pulp fiction, which does not deal with relationship dynamics? Again, they are not as realistic as, say, Bhyrappa's works. H K Anantha Rao Hyderabad Literary stories welcome I read through the pulp fiction issue (Issue 4). I think stories about the world of

team talk EDITORIAL S R Ramakrishna Editor Sridhar Chari Consulting Editor Prashanth G N Senior Editor Sajai Jose Chief Copy Editor Savie Karnel Principal Correspondent Basu Megalkeri Principal Correspondent Bhanu Prakash E S Senior Reporter Prachi Sibal Senior Features Writer Sandra Fernandes and Maria Laveena Reporters and Copy Editors Anand Kumar K Chief of Design Shridhar G Kulkarni Graphic Designer Ramesh Hunsur Senior Photographer Vivek Arun Graphics Artist

EXECUTIVE TEAM Sumith Kombra Founder, CEO and Publisher Ralph Fernandez Manager - Marketing Aaron Jones Asst Manager Marketing Abhay Sebastian Asst Manager - Sales Aman Preet Singh Asst Manager - Sales Kishore Kumar N Head - Circulation Vinayadathan K V Area Manager Trade Mahesh Javvadi Asst Mgr - Corporate Sales Yadhu Kalyani Sr Executive Corporate Sales Lokesh K N Sr Executive Subscriptions Prabhavathi Executive Circulation Sowmya Kombra Asst Process Manager

Printed and published by Sumith Kombra on behalf of Shakthi Media Ventures India Pvt Ltd FF70, Gold Towers, Residency Road, Bangalore -560025 and printed at Lavanya Mudranalaya, Chamarajpet, Bangalore-560018. Editor: SR Ramakrishna. Editorial Office: FF70, Gold Towers, Residency Road, Bangalore 560025 Email: Phone: 08049332100, 08040926658. © All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

fiction and writers, and the literary world in general, will always be of great appeal, and you should do more of those. We get a lot of politics in daily newspapers; you should do political stories only if they are different. Since you aspire to target the ‘intelligent Bangalorean’, there should always be a deeper, more intellectual component to all the stories you do. You have chosen

the tabloid format, but that is okay as long as the content is not ‘tabloidy’ and is of a certain quality. Devajyoti Ray Richmond Road Scores on variety A friend gave me a copy of Talk, asking me to check out the new weekly. It was unassuming, scored on layout, and on the wide variety of

subjects it touched. It struck me that despite being brought out from Bangalore, it has a very ‘national’ feel to it. I got two more issues, and found that it agreed with my sense of what a Bangalorean needs to be reading. Sunil Patil by email What do you think of this edition? Write to

blood feud

talk|20 sep 2012|


A spate of violent killings last week, including the ‘encounter’ death of feared rowdy-sheeter Bettanagere Seena, calls attention to a terrified taluk centre just 28 km from Vidhana Soudha. Bhanu Prakash E S visits the crime spots, and returns with a story of murky real estate deals, dirty politics, and innocents caught in a gory battle

Gangs of Nelamangala n September 7, Bangalore woke to the news of a dramatic police ‘encounter’ with Bettanagere Seena alias Srinivas, a notorious history-sheeter, who was shot dead in Syndicate Bank Layout on the outskirts of the city. Police said they had surrounded his hideout after receiving a tip-off, and killed him in self-defence in the shootout that followed. Unlike other names in the city's crime world, 37-year-old Seena came to the limelight outside his home turf of Nelamangala only recently, after he came to be on the police wanted list for the July 25 murder of BEML Krishnappa, the JD (S) leader of opposition in Bangalore Rural Zilla Panchayat. Krishnappa had been Seena’s one-time mentor. The two cars in which Krishnappa and his associates were travelling were reportedly waylaid by Seena and more than twenty masked men in three vehicles. One of the assailants, Deva, was also killed after Krishnappa’s police guard opened fire. The death of Seena, himself a member of the Huskur grama panchayat, was followed in quick succession by two other deaths on September 9. Siddaraju and Sunil, two rowdy sheeters and supposed members of a gang belonging to Seena’s cousin and sworn rival, Bettanagere Shankara, were shot dead near Kunigal by farm owner Shivanna and his sons. The two, along with other armed men, had raided their house in an extortion attempt.


BLOODY TRAIL Farm owner Shivanna and his sons shot and killed two men who had raided their house near Kunigal on September 9. (Below) Supporters of BEML Krishnappa torched a bus after he was murdered, allegedly by Seena

The rise of a ‘suburb’ Nelamangala has grown to be a much sought after destination for industrialists and real estate developers. The town is a taluk centre in Bangalore Rural district, in the north of Bangalore, near the junction of two National Highways, NH-48 (Bangalore-Mangalore) and NH-4 (Mumbai-Chennai). This strategic location, plus its proximity to the Peenya industrial area, explains the surge in demand for property, with land in the central parts of Nelamangala costing as much as Rs 3,000 per sq ft. Add murky politics and feudal enmity to the mix, and you understand the corresponding rise of gang violence. The story now unfolding has claimed at least a dozen lives over the last decade. Seena, who started his criminal career with petty theft and extortion, was first arrested for attempting to rob a rice lorry in 1991. He hails from the ‘dreaded’

Bettanagere, the village often identified as the locus of Nelamangala’s crime wave. Home to nearly 80 history-sheeters, it is the single biggest source of muscle power for the local ganglords, who play the game the only way they know—with laangs and machchus (crude swords and choppers). But because they are primarily pawns in a larger game, played for much bigger stakes, their village Bettanagere has remained an impoverished hamlet, with no school, and no optimism.

A bloody saga Ten years ago, two local strongmen faced each other off in an election bid for the head of the taluk milk producers’ co-operative. Then in 2004, Balekaymandi Basavaiah, who had won that election, was killed in full public view by the son and nephew of his defeated rival, Hanumanthaiah. The two killers, who even went

to the extent of organising a local temple festival as a scene for the murder they planned in meticulous detail, were none other than Seena and his younger cousin Shankara. The cousins were arrested after two of the people present, Devaraj, an advocate, and Krishnamurthy, a farmer, told the police they had witnessed the crime. It was at this point that BEML Krishnappa entered the scene with his own agenda, and secured bail for Shankara, leaving Seena to face the music all by himself. This enraged Seena, not just because he saw it as a betrayal, but also because Krishnappa was a political rival of his relative, Yadyal Devendra. Meanwhile, he had to deal with the ‘problem’ of the two witnesses. What followed was a series of murders, as witnesses were killed, and witnesses to those killings were killed, and so on. Continued on page 4 Î

blood feud

BEML KRISHNAPPA Began life as an employee of public sector giant BEML, and then muscled his way into politics. He was known to settle disputes in some 20 villages. At the time of his death, he was a JD(S) leader and leader of the opposition in the Bangalore Rural zilla panchayat. He reportedly owned 300 acres in the Nelamangala area.

talk|20 sep 2012|

BETTANAGERE SEENA A small-time criminal who started off by looting rice lorries, Seena grew to be a feared extortionist responsible for at least half a dozen murders. When he died, he had 11 criminal cases pending against him. He would get bail every time he was arrested because scared witnesses would turn hostile.

Continued from page 3 Krishnamurthy and Devaraj were both killed in 2007, the latter hacked to death in front of his father, Bylappa. Since Bylappa was a witness, he was also killed, allegedly by Seena’s henchmen. Devaraj’s son-in-law, Gangondanahalli Ramamurthy, a taluk panchayat member, started assembling his own henchmen to take revenge on Seena and his gang. But Ramamurthy was soon murdered in broad daylight, allegedly by Seena and his associates. Seena had now acquired a terrifying reputation, which he would soon cash in on. His timing could not have been better, as around this time Nelamanagala saw an unprecedented rise in property rates, which shot up five times within months. After he was released from prison, Seena turned to extortion, demanding protection money from rich farm owners. He also lent muscle power to industrialists and real estate developers now making a beeline for Nelamangala. Trouble was, during Seena’s absence, and with Krishnappa’s help, Shankara had already established his reputation as a feared extortionist in the area. The stage was set for a battle between the cousins, a battle which the bigger player, Krishnappa, was only happy to take advantage of.

BETTANAGERE SHANKARA Seena's cousin and one-time accomplice, Shankara became a rival when he allied himself with BEML Krishnappa. A notorious extortionist, he is now lodged in Belgaum jail, from where he is said to have plotted several unsuccessful attempts on Seena's life.

turned Devendra’s son, Harsha, against Shankara. Swearing vengeance, Harsha joined hands with Seena, and soon rose to become his right-hand man. Enter Lohith Gowda, a land-dealer as well as Krishnappa’s associate, who soon grew close to Shankara. Soon the two started making joint real estate deals in Nelamangala. Seena, who had once again been sent to jail on a murder case, kept track of his rivals’ movements from there. In 2009, saying they should forget their rivalry and let bygones be bygones, he invited Lohith to meet him in jail, and bring some food along. When Lohith arrived at the Central Prison in Parappana Agrahahra, he was hacked to death by Seena’s gang right outside the prison premises. In August 2009, using Harsha, who had an axe to grind against Krishnappa as a pointman, Seena supposedly engineered an attempt on the politician’s life. Krishnappa managed to survive only because he and his


gunman returned fire, forcing their power, armed gangs, and caste and clan assailants to flee. He had hired a gunman alliances to maintain their power and only a little while before the attack, follow- wealth. In turn, they are used by leaders of ing Yadyal Devendra’s murder. all parties to serve their interests. Shortly after the attack, the police BEML Krishnappa, who was earlier arrested Harsha and an associate who had with the Congress, switched loyalties to the sustained injuries. In April 2012, Shankara JD(S) supposedly after he was denied an was sent to Bellary jail on a murder case, election ticket by the Congress. This where he is lodged to this day. After Lohith proved opportune for JD(S) leader H D Gowda’s murder, the cousins carried out Kumaraswamy, who was looking to boost many unsuccessful attempts to finish each his party's fortunes in the area. other off during their spells in Bellary, But despite the JD(S) leader’s support, Gulbarga, Mysore, Ramanagara and and his own caste advantage as a Vokkaliga, Bangalore jails. Krishnappa could not stand for the assemIn March 2011, Seena miraculously bly election from the Nelamangala survived an attempt on his life, when a fel- constituency, as the seat is reserved for the low prisoner at Mysore scheduled castes. The jail—supposedly working JD(S) had reportedly for Shankara—fired at him decided to field him from In Nelamangala, from close range with a the neighbouring politicians are country-made revolver. Dasarahalli constituency the go-to After he was released in the 2013 assembly elecfrom prison, Seena kept a tions. persons for low profile for a while, The news of industrialists knowing that he was now Krishnappa’s candidacy is and real estate a target of both said to have alarmed S developers who Krishnappa and Shankara. Muniraju, the BJP’s sitting But he devised a plan to MLA of Dasarahalli, who, want to do any kill Krishnappa, which he like Krishnappa, is someserious business and his gang finally did one who had taken the real this July. estate route to politics. Following The rumour now doing Krishnappa’s murder, his supporters gath- the rounds is that Muniraju exploited the ered in Nelamanagala, blocking the enmity between Seena and Krishnappa. highway, closing shops, torching a couple Muniraju is now facing a Lokayukta police of buses and damaging dozens more. The charge that he illegally claimed ownership police had to eventually declare curfew for of 1 acre 15 guntas in Kereguddadahalli vilthree days to bring the situation under lage. He allegedly refused to vacate the plot control. even after a High Court order. When Talk visited BEML Krishnappa’s family after Seena’s death, his elderly sister Murky politics Like in the city’s other booming suburbs, said, “When Kumaraswamy and Revanna Nelamangala’s political leaders are the go- came to my brother’s funeral, they assured to persons for industrialists and real estate us they would not spare whoever was for his death” developers looking to acquire property in responsible the area. They then negotiate deals on H D Deve Gowda of the JD(S) and Congress behalf of companies, using force where leader D K Shivakumar were among the leaders who visited necessary, or demand protection money. prominent They rely on a complex matrix of political Krishnappa’s house to offer condolences.

Split wide open Bettanagere residents say the cousins were temperamentally different from each other. They hold that Shankara, no doubt as ruthless a killer as his cousin, was in control of his behaviour, whereas Seena’s wild temper and aggression often took completely unpredictable turns. The first blow was dealt by Shankara in 2009 when his gang allegedly murdered Yadyal Devendra, Seena’s relative and Krishnappa’s rival, in the upcoming zilla panchayat elections. Seena did not immediately retaliate. But the murder had CAR CHASE Seena and his men allegedly shot at Krishnappa and hacked him to death when he was travelling in this SUV from Bangalore to Nelamangala

blood feud

talk|20 sep 2012|

BULLET END Seena was shot dead in a police ‘encounter’ on Bangalore’s outskirts on September 7

Ground zero At Seena’s home in Bettanagere, which has a population of around a thousand people, we found his family members living in fear. After this reporter accepted a glass of water from his sister, she suddenly broke down, saying her house had been shunned by the village since Seena’s death. The villagers, sick of the violence, want no trouble from his rivals or the police.

According to Seena’s mother, the night after his death, four or five people came to her house, armed with crowbars, and unsuccessfully attempted to force themselves in. She has now shifted to her daughters’ home nearby. Seena’s family questions the police claim that he was killed in an encounter. “He was murdered in cold blood. The police say there was a shootout, but look at the way the bullets have entered his


body from two sides. I have never seen him smoke or drink in his whole life, because, given the nature of his work, he could not afford not to be complacent even for a moment. He was the type who would get angry even if others smoked or drank in his presence. But they claim to have found booze bottles in his house,” one of his sisters said. With Seena gone, they also find themselves vulnerable to Shankara, who they say has sworn to finish off the whole family. Even if he gets out of jail, he will never give up his violent trade or forget his vengeance, they say. Seena’s relative and right-hand man Harsha, who might have protected them, is now on the run from the police, along with fellow gang member Bande Manja. One of Seena’s uncles told Talk the two are willing to surrender, but are afraid of being “encountered” by the police. Following custom, Seena’s body has been buried next to his father’s at their family home. His sister, who refused to reveal her name, said the police had initially put pressure on the family to cremate the body immediately after it was returned to them. The police were afraid there would be assaults from Seena’s rivals on people who gathered there. Media reports speculate that the deadly spiral of death in Nelamangala will finally wind down with the death of Seena. But even a casual survey of the area’s history indicates otherwise. (With inputs from Basu Megalkeri)

talk|20 sep 2012|


The thieving rodent that became an electronic device

Mouse SAVIE KARNEL he mouse, as we all know, is the vehicle of Ganesha in Indian mythology. Interestingly, the English word is derived from the Sanskrit word for mouse, mushaka. This Sanskrit word was is in turn derived from another word of the same language, mus, which means to steal. Since rodents steal food and grain from humans, they must have got the name. Old English too used mus, before the word became mouse in the 12th century. The ancient Romans used mus for all rodents large and small. They differentiated between mice and rats with the usage of big and little. The mouse was called mus maxThe Talk imus (big column on mouse) and


word origins

the rat mus minimus (little mouse). Greek, Latin and Old Persian too use variations of mus. In modern English, the word is often used for anything that resembles a mouse. In the 1800s,it was used in nautical jargon to refer to a bulge of rope on a ship because it looked like a mouse. This bulge which prevented the ropes tied to mast from slipping away was also called the stay mouse. The word was later used W to denote a black eye caused by a blow! Mouse was used for a computer device in the 1960s. The first documented evidence for the use of mouse for the computer pointer is in Bill English’s 1965 publication, Computer Aided Display Control. Two years earlier, English had assisted Douglas Engelbart in inventing the device. Since the invention resembled the mouse, they gave it the name. The earliest mouse was a block of wood with two wheels, three buttons on top and a wire

which resembled the tail of a mouse. During a demo, Engelbart once said, “I don’t know why we call it a mouse. It started that way, and we never did change it.” He even called the cursor a bug, but this word didn’t become popular. Engelbart has invented the mouse to help navigate through the oNLine System (NLS) a precursor of the Internet. But his patent for the mouse expired before the device gained popularity in the 1980s. Engelbart didn’t get widespread recognition or royalties for his invention. Engelbart’s assistant Bill English joined Xerox Corp and helped build the mouse there. Xerox became the first company to sell a computer with a mouse in 1981. The term mouse for the device became part of the English language only in 1984, when Apple made it standard equipment with its original Macintosh. entered common parlance. Mouse has now become an With the introduction of Microsoft Windows and the integral part not only of English advent of the Internet, the word but all languages. Many of us may



not be able to distinguish between a rat and a mouse, but we surely know the difference between a keyboard and a mouse.

politics watch

talk|20 sep 2012|

Congress to project Kharge as CM? As big castes consolidate their strengths in Karnataka, a worried Rahul Gandhi comes up with a surprise strategy that might just work: present a respected Dalit leader as CM BASU MEGALKERI

he Congress is all set to project Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge as its chief ministerial candidate in Karnataka, a party source revealed to Talk. The strategy comes from Rahul Gandhi, and could change all calculations not just within the Congress but also in the other parties.



Mallikarjuna Kharge

The party has reportedly told The Congress office on Queens Road is abuzz with activity, after four Shivashankarappa, “We will offer years of sluggishness. Divided into at good positions to the Lingayats. But least eight distinct factions, it hasn’t before that, you’ll have to prove your done much in the last few months to strength and capabilities.” Krishna’s group continues to respond to the public sentiment against corruption in the ruling BJP, project Parameshwar, a Dalit, while but some developments in Delhi the Shivashankarappa faction is pushseem to be injecting optimism into ing Kharge to the forefront. Simultaneously, D K Shivakumar is the cadres. State Congress president G trying to rope in more leaders of his Parameshwar went to Delhi and has Vokkaliga caste into the Congress convinced Foreign Minister S M fold. He is telling disgruntled JD(S) Krishna to return to Karnataka to leaders that Deve Gowda only prohead the campaign committee. But motes his sons: “You will be pushed to the timing hasn’t been so good. A big the back row. Even if your party wins faction led by Shamanur 50 to 60 seats, you can’t form an indeShivashankarappa is saying, “The pendent government. Come and join Congress has neglected the majority the Congress, and you can rise to any Lingayats. This is the time to make level.” The idea is to break Deve Gowda’s grip over the old Mysore amends.” (Krishna is a Vokkaliga). Siddaramaiah, another strong region, where Vokkaliga leaders are in leader, isn’t a big admirer of a majority. Sources say this is a strategy worked out by Parameshwar, and has Krishna. joined hands with Coming back Shivashankarappa. In my 43-year career in to Kharge, many Seniors leaders such Congress, I have never senior leaders are as Veerappa Moily, demanded a position happy with the Kharge, Dharam thought that he Singh, Oscar either in the party or in could become the Fernandes, Jaffer the government. next chief minister. Sharief, Janardhan I have always strictly With him, Poojari, and B K Shivashankarappa Hariprasad are also on gone by the party’s and Siddaramaiah Shivashankarappa’s orders. side. This league has Mallikarjuna Kharge spearheading the never supported Union minister for labour campaign, the party can attract Dalits, Krishna. Rahul Gandhi reportedly told Lingayats, and Kurubas, who together leaders in charge of Karnataka, “In constitute nearly 40 per cent of the UP, we didn’t get into an alliance electorate. To pacify Siddaramaiah, also a with any party, and lost. We were humiliated. That should not be chief ministerial candidate, the facrepeated here.” That could mean tion is saying Kharge can rule for twothe Congress is open to exploring and-a-half years and leave the leaderalliances with Yeddyurappa, and ship to Siddaramaiah. Where does that leave Shivashankarappa? Over possibly B Sriramulu. A source in Delhi confirmed to the years, the rich educationist has Talk: “Yes, the thinking is that we been serving as party treasurer. It is should have a Dalit chief minis- rumoured he wants to be the president of the state Congress. He may ter.” On Parameshwar, the source get the backing of all big leaders to said, “There will be no change in fulfil his desire. Rahul Gandhi’s decision to projthe party presidentship here. Krishna will be the president of ect a Dalit as CM may be a trump the election campaign com- card. Even Vokkaliga and Lingayat mittee. We will keep him in leaders accept Kharge. Both Kharge the forefront to attract the and Parameshwar are capable leaders, but Kharge is more experienced and Vokkaligas.”


The deserving one

Mallikarjuna Kharge, a law graduate, entered politics as the legal advisor for the employees’ union of Gulbarga’s MSK Textile Mill in 1969. Three years later, he was elected MLA from the Gurmitkal constituency in Gulbarga. The very next year saw him being inducted into the Devaraj Urs cabinet as minister of state for rural development and panchayat raj. He has since been a minister in all subsequent Congress-led governments in the state. In 2004, he was considered a frontrunner for the chief minister's post. He failed to make it, and served the Dharam Singh government as transport minister. In 2008, he was elected for a record ninth consecutive time, the only Congress politician in Karnataka to have won so consistently. He has often been criticised for not being media-friendly, and for not doing enough for Dalits despite hailing from the community. But the most serious blemish in his record is the impoverished condition of Hyderabad Karnataka. A powerful leader like Kharge ought to have meant better living conditions there. respected. Working under six chief ministers and handling several portfolios, Kharge is looking like the party’s best bet. Already aware of the drift of the high command, Shivashankarappa has been inviting Kharge to participate in state political meetings. Last Saturday, Kharge attended two events in Karnataka: one official, and the other a felicitation by the Indian National Trade Union Committee (INTUC). Siddalinga Swamy, a follower of B S Yeddyurapa from Mysore, is already using the mood within the Congress to fuel disgruntlement among non-Dalits: “If the Congress wants a Dalit chief minister, it means Siddaramaiah is out of the race.” This is a clue to how Yeddyurappa, although officially still in the BJP, is holding secret talks with the Congress, where the party may have shared some of its strategies with him. A senior leader, active in politics for more than 40 years, said, “Our high command is like God. We will do whatever the high command says. We have no power against it.” That’s the truth, of course, and if Delhi wants Kharge, Kharge it’s going to be.

enterprise stories

talk|20 sep 2012|


THE HAPPY QUITTERS The baker After spending almost 11 years in the IT industry, Monika Manchanda found her true calling in baking. Her earliest memories of baking are from her childhood, when her mother used to bake cakes for her in a cooker. “As I grew up, my interest grew, but I explored baking seriously only after I took a break

Monikada n Mancha on Sin-a-M

t is a dream for many professionals to strike out on their own, follow their dreams, and build a business that brings them satisfaction. Bangalore has many proud examples of entrepreneurship. We went looking for people who had given up well-paying jobs to do things they loved. What motivates them? How do they face family and friends who kill their spirit with well-meaning advice? Most entre-


from work. I started baking something every week, which soon became almost daily, and the journey continues,” she told Talk. Monika, who has worked for Intel, Wipro and Nortel, quit her job at 30, when she was project leader. She is now the proud owner of Sin-a-Mon, a baking enterprise. Before starting, she used to post her ideas on her blog Sin-a-Mon Tales. “When I started baking professionally, it was pinching me a lot as I wasn’t earning what I used to before. But now, 10 months after I started out, I see better returns,” she says. Starting a baking business was not easy. “Sorting out the logistics—where to bake and how to deliver—was the first challenge. The line between living space and working space, and working time and personal time, sometimes gets mixed up when one works from home,” she notes. But she isn’t complaining. The response to Sin-a-Mon has been “phenomenal”. The orders keep coming and her workshops are well received.


preneurs say if there is a secret to success at all, it is old-fashioned, dogged perseverance. Talk found some interesting new start-ups, founded by young professionals chasing a passion. All but one on our list are women. These stories underline the power of the dream, and the willingness to let go of something that’s lucrative but not fulfilling. You will read here about a lawyer who became a stained glass artist. Then there is the engineer who opened a book store. We also have IT professionals: one became a baker, another a crafts entrepreneur and a third simply took up professional golf. Read on for tips and inspiration.

Saarus Nirhali Glassho pper

The stained glass artist Saarus Nirhali worked for three years as a lawyer with a firm in Mumbai. She quit at 25 to start Glasshopper, specialising in stained glass. She conducts workshops and does panels for restaurants and homes. “I was always attracted towards glass painting and wanted to learn the art,” she says. “A gentleman, who was quite old, taught me the art of stained glass painting. But I wanted to go further on my own. The web helped, as did some magazines.” The ‘rather old man’ was 95. The initial years were a struggle. She was unable to recover the money she had invested. “But thankfully, now I earn more than before and am happy about the switch,” she says with a smile. Her creations include lamp shades, sun catchers, and panels. They are sold at retail outlets such as Purple Turtle, and at exhibitions hosted by the Overseas Women’s Club. Saarus gets steady business from architects and restaurants.

A stained glass work by Saarus

enterprise stories

talk|20 sep 2012| RAMESH HUNSUR

An ardent reader and electrical engineer, Mayi Gowda’s love affair with books began during his college days. When he was 22, he worked for General Electric for about a month, and quit when he couldn’t stay away from his passion for books any longer. In fact, he had sold books to fund his own college studies, and wasn’t new to the business. He first started a makeshift footpath shop. Today, he is the proud owner of Blossoms Book House on Church Street. One of the very few stores in Bangalore selling

wda Mayi Gooms Bloss

The creative artist Divya Subhash Haldipur shifted from the IT industry to art for two reasons: she wanted to keep her creative side alive, and she wanted to enjoy herself just like she had during her childhood days. Divya is the creative head at Kalavity, which is the name she has given her art boutique. Her creations include wedding invites from recycled bottles and paper quilling products such as earrings and neck pieces.

The bookworm

“It is a little early to say how I am doing financially, but I have definitely surpassed my initial expectations,” she says. Divya sells her creations through her Facebook page and online stores. She initially had trouble promoting her work, but social media came to her rescue. She has also displayed her creations at exhibitions such as Soul Santhe and is happy to have generous friends who display her creations at their stores.

both second hand and new books, Blossoms has become popular among book lovers since its inauguration in 2002. Mayi Gowda started Blossoms with his own collection of 1,500 books, and the store has grown from a small place of 200 sq ft to a three-floor spread. His friends mocked him for being a bookseller but their attitudes changed as Blossoms got bigger. The store now stocks over four lakh titles. The oldest book with him is a volume of English poetry published in 1796. “Definitely not for sale,” Mayi Gowda says, gazing fondly at his prized possession.

Divya S ub Kalavithyash

The competitive edge nappa Nikki Po pro s t r o Sp

The golfer For someone at their peak professionally, quitting is a tough decision. What if the switch to passion does not yield the desired results? But Nikki Ponappa, who has taken up professional golf, feels it’s a risk worth taking. Nikki, who worked for ING Vysya Life Insurance for five years, says she wanted to give herself a second chance. The moment she found an opportunity to turn golfing into a

career, she grabbed it. Nikki had been active in sports, and quit her job at 27. Her company didn’t want to let her go, so it was a three-yearsabbatical that she took from work. “I had decided in three years if I didn’t achieve what I wanted, I would go back to my regular job,” she says. Nikki has been a professional golfer for four years and is among the top five women golfers in India. She has now set her eyes on the 2016 Olympics.


What makes people quit high profile jobs that assure thhem money and job stability? For many who make the switch, the routine office life is too monotonous to bear. They are drained by the constant competition and want to return to what makes them happy. Interestingly, once they quit and do what they love, they stop dreading competition. Monika Manchanda, who quit the IT industry to become a baker, puts it this way: “We are blessed to be in a city with many talented bakers to choose from, and the city offers space for all of us. I think it’s a growing market. Of course, one should have a clear idea of one’s USP before entering the market.” Once work becomes enjoyable, taking on the competition also becomes fun. “You constantly work to get the best out of yourself,” says Divya Subhash, who sells her crafts online and at exhibitions.

fun line

talk|20 sep 2012|


trunk call

talk|20 sep 2012|



Ganesha worldwide

This most popular of Hindu Gods is also perhaps the most widely travelled, reaching as far as Japan. Savie Karnel on the many Vinayakas there are, including a female one

nce, while visiting a Muslim family in their home, I was surprised to see a one-foot high idol of Ganesha on a corner table. When I asked the woman of the house about it, she replied, “He is a stylish God. I like to have him around.” She was referring to the fluid artistry of the image, something Ganesha seems to lend himself to quite easily. When I looked at the statue, the deity seemed to smile, the way he always does. We rarely see an image of Ganehsa where he appears angry. I have also noticed that children find it easier to relate to Ganesha than other gods, perhaps, because of the many stories where he is shown as a naughty and smart kid. Every mother wants a son as obedient as Ganesha, who fought with Shiva and was willing to be beheaded to abide by his mother. Fathers too want a child like Ganesha, who considered his parents his universe. Every child looks up at the sky and wonders if he too could eat tons of sweets and then ride home on a mouse, pausing only to whack the moon on the cheek because it dared to laugh at him. But was Ganesha always like this? Some scholars don't think so. They claim that the current image of Ganesha was developed during the



MODAK MOMENTS 1. Ganesha gets a spray of paint for the 2012 festivities in Hyderabad. 2. Vinayaki, the ‘female Ganesha’ at Jabalpur’s Chausath Yogini temple. 3. The earliest known carving of Ganesha, at Udaygiri, MP

Gupta period around 4th century AD. The Gupta kings brought in Brahmanical influences in the predominant Jain and Buddhist society of the time. While doing so, they incorporated the elephant-headed God worshipped by some cults. At the cave temples of Udaygiri in Madhya Pradesh, known for the first temples to be built, one sees hewn Ganeshas on the walls of the cave. In contrast with the panel of intricately designed avatars of Vishnu sculpted in giant sizes by the Vaishnavite Guptas, the Ganesha carving is rough and without any details. Perhaps, these are the earliest images of Ganesha, when he was being raised to the level of a Hindu God. In his book, Ganesa’s Rise to Prominence in Sanskrit Literature, historian Ludo Rocher says there is no mention of Ganesha in Vedic literature. The Rig Veda has references to Ganapati, meaning leader of the people. This, Rocher says, does not refer to the modern Ganesha, but is a title of Brahaspati or Jupiter, the teacher of the gods. The Puranic stories and myths may have been later additions. Later in the 9th century AD, Shankaracharya included Ganesha in the five primary deities of the Smartha tradition, which further popularised Ganesha. While Ganesha is also called Vigneshwara or Vinayaka, the lord of obstacles—one capable of placing or removing them—ancient texts show the name has a more curious origin. In ancient Hindu mythology, Vinayaka referred to four troublesome demons who created obstacles and problems. The four Vinayakas were merged into one Vinayaka and elevated to the status of one God, says H Heras in his book, The Problem of Ganapati. In Mahayana Buddhism, Vinayaka appears both as a deity and as a demon. As a Buddhist God, he is shown dancing, while as a demon he is shown being trampled by Mahakala or Shiva. The Buddhists took Ganesha to Japan, where he is called Kangiten. Here he is also called Binayaka-ten, the evil one who creates discord and obstacles. They believe that when pleased, he bestows good fortune,


prosperity and wealth. While many pray to him for wealth, the young pray to him for success in love. Kangiten is as also shown as a couple embracing each other. An image of a male and a female elephant-headed pair standing and embracing each other is used to represent Kangiten. The female form of the elephant-headed God is also seen in some temples in India and is called Vinayaki. I saw one such sculpture in the 10th century Chausath Yogini temple in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. Here, Vinayaki represents one of the forms of the Goddess Shakti. The image is also found in most other Chausath Yogini temples in the country. The female form of Ganesha is also found at the Thanumalayan Swamy Temple in Suchindram, in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district. In Madurai, the female form is worshipped as Vyaghrapada Ganeshani, where the image has an elephant head, a female human body and tiger feet. In Tibet, she is worshipped as Gajanani. While some call Vinayaki the consort of Ganesha, other scholars hold her as an independent goddess. The earliest evidence of a female Ganesha is a terracotta plaque found


at Raigarh in Rajhasthan, which dates to the first century. P K Agarwal in his book Goddess Vinayaki, the Female Ganesa, points to Puranic references to her. The Matsya Purana mentions Vinayaki as one of the two hundred celestial mothers created by Shiva to kill the demon Andhaka. Perhaps it is the unique quality of Ganesha that he can take any form and yet make us feel secure and protected. While a trader places him on a pedestal and feels assured of profits, a driver keeps the Lord of Obstacles on his dashboard and feels he is certain to have a safe journey.

festival blooms

talk|20 sep 2012|


City of the superior rose RAMESH HUNSUR

Bangalore, home to the largest rose-exporting company in the world, is upbeat even in a recession year because the domestic market is strong


hey hold just 25 acres, fragmented across Dodballapur, Sarjapura and Kunigal, each an hour’s drive from Bangalore, and in a different direction. Yet, Karuturi Global has emerged the world's top rose exporter. Bangalore can justifiably feel proud of this achievement, roses in Africa. While Kenya produces but 98 per cent of the 555 million roses the company around 5-6 lakh roses a day, produces every year comes Ethiopia touches nearly 10 lakh a day. from Kenya and Ethiopia, Geographical grown on land leased distance and highto the company by World No 1 er export costs put the respective in rose exports: African govern- Bangalore company Bangalore at a disKaruturi Global advantage. The ments. state government Karuturi proisn't helping either: it duces 10 million roses is not making land availevery year in Bangalore and the rest from the two African able on lease. “Buying land at countries. “Ten million is a big exorbitant rates and then number, but when you see it in exporting roses doesn't make relation to 555 million, you cost sense,” says Agarwal. Karuturi produces know how small it is. 30,000 roses every day, All the same we’re amounting to 9-10 happy to be based Bangalore lakh a month, and in Bangalore,” grows about a crore CEO Manoj 10 cr roses every year every year. It Agarwal told Talk. exports 30-40 lakh In Africa, the of these roses and company has access to sells the rest within the 750 acres. Says Agarwal: “The African climate and land country. While it is the largest rose are conducive to rose production, the reason their exporter in the world, it isn't the largest in the country. governments have “There are at least four framed policies on to five companies rose cultivation.” A rose costs producing as much Also, the between as we do, if not two countries 50 paise more. While the are geographiand Rs 25 depending on Bangalore market cally close to demand produces around Europe, the world’s 100 million roses annulargest consumer of roses. Logistically, then, it ally, we do just 10 per cent of makes more sense to grow that,” says Agarwal.


GULABI TALKIES The daily international rose auction at Hebbal. The flowers are mostly exported to Europe

The Bangalore rose is the most preferred rose in the country and beats the Pune rose in overall texture, colour, and quality because of our agro-climatic conditions. In terms of quantity, though, Pune is a close competitor Dr Shankara Murthy Assistant Director, Horticulture Dept Bangalore has competition from the Pune and Nashik regions, which are neck and neck with our city. The largest consumer of roses in India is Delhi, followed by Mumbai. During peak seasons, roses touch Rs 12-13 a piece in the wholesale market and Rs 20-25 at florists and airports. During the off season, prices crash to as low as Rs 1.50-2 a piece. At Bangalore's local K R Market, desperate vendors sometimes sell a rose for as low as 50 paise. The European market is far more sensitive to varieties and textures than the Indian market, which industry observers say hasn’t matured in ways Europe has.

Rosy facts

The flower and rose industry are recovering after being hit by the 2008-09 recession. The rose is grown over 550 hectares covering both urban and rural areas in Bangalore, generating a turnover of over Rs 9 crore every year. Karnataka grows roses on 2,379 hectares, with the annual output valued at Rs 33 crore.

The rose is one of 12 flowers that come to the International Flower Auction, Bangalore (IFAB) every day. The Dutch rose is the most sought after at the auction and of the 12 varieties auctioned every day, the rose is the most auctioned at nearly 90 per cent of the total 1,000 auctions a day. The other flowers that come in for auction are carnations, gerberas, anthuriums, birds of paradise, heliconia, tube roses, gladioli, orchids and liliums.

The state’s overall annual flower output is valued at Rs 479 crore, of which the Bangalore region's share is Rs 43 crore.

The Bangalore auction centre was the first to be set up in Asia, in 1997, and generates cash transactions of Rs 3 lakh a day. Source: Karnataka Horticulture Department

festival blooms

talk|20 sep 2012|


Petal central

K R Market comes alive at 2.30 am, when most of Bangalore is fast asleep, as lorries roll in with flowers from fields on the outskirts. Between 5.30 and 8 am, the bustling market acquires magical colour, a sight for the gods! It’s a mystery why the tourism guys aren’t promoting the sights and sounds of this bloom bazaar. Here’s a secret: This is where you get the freshest, cheapest and best flowers in town. And haggling is perfectly fine. A word of advice: Club your visit with stopover at one of the many darshinis in the vicinity. You are sure to get top quality idli, vada and coffee.

The fickle rose

Roses sell for Rs 10 for a bunch of 20 a week before the Ganesha festival. As demand picks up, they cost up to Rs 5 a piece, or Rs 100 a bunch. On desperate days, vendors sell a bunch for as little as Rs 3.

Kanaka the unassuming

FLORAL PARADISE Welcome to the early morning market at K R Market, the most dazzlingly colourful place in Bangalore. This is where floral expanses herald the festival season. A Talk special for GowriGanesha, and the other celebrations coming up. Text: Prashanth G N Photos: Ramesh Hunsur

Early birds

The flowers are unloaded on the footpaths, and some 200 vendors set up makeshift stalls. Yellow and white sevantige, mallige, and kanakambra are hugely popular. The flowers are sprinkled with water and get a just-plucked look. The vendors wind up at 8 am sharp. Says a vendor from Sunkadakatte: ‘If we stay longer, there’s a traffic jam. The shops open at 9.’

K R Market is one of the most colourful slices of Bangalore, and owes at least part of its charm to its talkative flower-sellers. A 5.30 am visit is guaranteed to open your eyes to the secret delights of the flower market. As you absorb the sights, smells and sounds of truckloads of flowers being put out for sale and chat with the vendors, you are rewarded with fascinating insights into a trade as fickle as stocks. “The prices fall in the space of two hours,” says Shivanna, who travels 20 km to sell his flowers here. Prices are low till three days before the Gowri-Ganesha festival. With 48 hours to go for the puja, the rates skyrocket. They fall again the day after the festival. Policemen and municipal staff collect

Rs 10 each from each vendor, a practice that prompts some grumbling. “What do we do? We live an uncertain life,” a cheerful flower vendor says. Policemen also take away, for free, bundles of flowers in odd numbers: three, five or seven. That’s one of their beliefs: odd numbers bring good fortune! Lessons in doggedness must be learnt from Kumar M, who travels to K R Market all the way from Tumkur, a three-hour journey, every day. “I catch the night train, get off at Yeshwanthpur at 12.30 am, hire an auto and bring my flowers here. I sell whatever I can from till 8.30 am, then get back to Yeshwanthpur, and catch a train back to Tumkur.” He tries to sell the remaining flowers there.

The orange kanakambara and its blue-complexioned sister neelambara offer no fragrance, and yet are appreciated for their colour and ornamental value.

Hi jasmine

The mallige (jasmine) sells at Rs 100 a kg off season, but shoots up to Rs 1,200 on the eve of the Ganesha festival. The Tamil, Kannada and Urduspeaking vendors are cheerfully aware the flower market fluctuates wildly. The jasmine is praised in Kannada and Tamil poetry, and has even inspired sitar maestro Ravishankar to name an album after it. The kaakda is a jasmine-lookalike for those looking for a cheaper option, but it isn’t favoured for worship or adornment.

festival blooms

talk|20 sep 2012|


Petal central

K R Market comes alive at 2.30 am, when most of Bangalore is fast asleep, as lorries roll in with flowers from fields on the outskirts. Between 5.30 and 8 am, the bustling market acquires magical colour, a sight for the gods! It’s a mystery why the tourism guys aren’t promoting the sights and sounds of this bloom bazaar. Here’s a secret: This is where you get the freshest, cheapest and best flowers in town. And haggling is perfectly fine. A word of advice: Club your visit with stopover at one of the many darshinis in the vicinity. You are sure to get top quality idli, vada and coffee.

The fickle rose

Roses sell for Rs 10 for a bunch of 20 a week before the Ganesha festival. As demand picks up, they cost up to Rs 5 a piece, or Rs 100 a bunch. On desperate days, vendors sell a bunch for as little as Rs 3.

Kanaka the unassuming

FLORAL PARADISE Welcome to the early morning market at K R Market, the most dazzlingly colourful place in Bangalore. This is where floral expanses herald the festival season. A Talk special for GowriGanesha, and the other celebrations coming up. Text: Prashanth G N Photos: Ramesh Hunsur

Early birds

The flowers are unloaded on the footpaths, and some 200 vendors set up makeshift stalls. Yellow and white sevantige, mallige, and kanakambra are hugely popular. The flowers are sprinkled with water and get a just-plucked look. The vendors wind up at 8 am sharp. Says a vendor from Sunkadakatte: ‘If we stay longer, there’s a traffic jam. The shops open at 9.’

K R Market is one of the most colourful slices of Bangalore, and owes at least part of its charm to its talkative flower-sellers. A 5.30 am visit is guaranteed to open your eyes to the secret delights of the flower market. As you absorb the sights, smells and sounds of truckloads of flowers being put out for sale and chat with the vendors, you are rewarded with fascinating insights into a trade as fickle as stocks. “The prices fall in the space of two hours,” says Shivanna, who travels 20 km to sell his flowers here. Prices are low till three days before the Gowri-Ganesha festival. With 48 hours to go for the puja, the rates skyrocket. They fall again the day after the festival. Policemen and municipal staff collect

Rs 10 each from each vendor, a practice that prompts some grumbling. “What do we do? We live an uncertain life,” a cheerful flower vendor says. Policemen also take away, for free, bundles of flowers in odd numbers: three, five or seven. That’s one of their beliefs: odd numbers bring good fortune! Lessons in doggedness must be learnt from Kumar M, who travels to K R Market all the way from Tumkur, a three-hour journey, every day. “I catch the night train, get off at Yeshwanthpur at 12.30 am, hire an auto and bring my flowers here. I sell whatever I can from till 8.30 am, then get back to Yeshwanthpur, and catch a train back to Tumkur.” He tries to sell the remaining flowers there.

The orange kanakambara and its blue-complexioned sister neelambara offer no fragrance, and yet are appreciated for their colour and ornamental value.

Hi jasmine

The mallige (jasmine) sells at Rs 100 a kg off season, but shoots up to Rs 1,200 on the eve of the Ganesha festival. The Tamil, Kannada and Urduspeaking vendors are cheerfully aware the flower market fluctuates wildly. The jasmine is praised in Kannada and Tamil poetry, and has even inspired sitar maestro Ravishankar to name an album after it. The kaakda is a jasmine-lookalike for those looking for a cheaper option, but it isn’t favoured for worship or adornment.

comic con india

talk|20 sep 2012|


If publishers' instincts are anything to go by, the contemporary comic fan likes nothing better than an ancient tale packaged in a visually interesting format. Prachi Sibal reports from Comic Con Express

Read a comic, travel in time I t was a sight: comic fans babbling in excitement like school children at a fete. The event’s first Bangalore edition, held at Koramangala Indoor Stadium last weekend, packed a rare treat for readers, illustrators, publishers and almost anybody who loves the form. To add to the effect of finding oneself inside one giant three-dimensional comic book, some Indian comic superheroes were spotted strolling about in colourful costumes. The large groups of comic-hungry Bangaloreans who filled the venue only confirmed that the organisers had got it right when they decided to

MYTHICAL RENDITIONS Aghori by Holy Cow comics. (Top) From a mythological graphic novel by Campfire

hold the event here this year. From graphic novels to rare original editions, accessories and apparel inspired by the medium, Comic Con had it all. The comics themselves were from across genres, some tried to take you into a fantasy world with superheroes and the like, while others tried to keep pace with things more real. Among it all, one trend in the nature of Indian comic books was easy to spot. This was the treasure trove of ancient Indian stories being brought back in comic form. The trend of bringing the past to life through comics is hardly new, as anyone who grew up on Amar Chitra Katha would testify. The surprise here was the sheer quantity and variety of the old-new material, and the interesting ways it had been adapted. The publishers of city-based Campfire Comics, had on display a whole range of work inspired by mythology, both Indian and Greek, carrying such titles as Sita: Daughter of the Earth, Ravana: Roar of the Demon King and their latest release Krishna: Defender of Dharma. While these may seem to be riding the mythological bandwagon, one of Campfire’s graphic novels, titled In Defence of the Realm, tells the story of the Harappa civilisation, promising this dreaded topic from high school history class interesting. Andrew Dodd, Campfire’s marketing head, says graphic novels are the perfect form for retelling these stories. “The visual element of

ancient history is really important— previously published Raavayana, without it what happened in the past which, a bit predictably perhaps, would just be a load of words and our retells the Ramayana from the perexperience would not be complete. spective of Ravan. Another interesting take on Graphic novels can bring history to life and communicate to the reader ancient material was that by Cityexactly what the author and artist dis- based Sufi Studios, who have dipped covered in their research, and give into ancient lore to capture Sufi wisthem a complete experience of the dom in a simple graphic format. It’s the brainchild of brothers era being depicted.” Arif Vakil and Vimanika Comics spent five Mohammed years revisiting Indian mythology, Mohammed Ali Vakil who grew up in Dubai, where they according to its imbibed Islamic founder-CEO Karan texts in the neighArora. He says the The quantity and bourhood madrasa. initial idea was to tell Years later, after the world about quality of new their fair share of ancient Indian histocomics is exposure to Amar ry and myth. “I breathtaking Chitra Katha and wanted to portray the Tinkle, they decided lives of those like to use the comic Karna. Though, of course, Indian mythology is not just form to bring Sufi wisdom alive. “My about Mahabharata, there is a lot brother Ali who got interested in drawing wanted to do something purmore that went before it.” Another publisher of mytholo- poseful with it. We began creating gy-themed comics, Holy Cow comic strips and putting them up on Comics, had used the event to launch our blog. It was the overwhelming their comic series Aghori, which response that drove us to bring out claims to open up the secretive world books,” says Arif. Arif believes the trend of conof this little-known sect of sadhus to the reader. Talking about the series, temporary story tellers going back to Vivek Goyal, CEO and art director of olden day material is neither new nor Holy Cow Comics says, “What we on the verge of turning old. “Whether want to present is the ancient story of they have ancient stories or not, more how the Aghori sect came into being, and more people are getting into with as many factual details as possi- comics and taking them seriously. ble. For instance, an initiate has to go This has to be a positive sign,” he says. through 12 extremely difficult stages It’s a sentiment that would be echoed before he is accepted as an Aghori.” by all those who were present—readHoly Cow is also known for having ers, creators or publishers.

concert notes

talk|20 sep 2012|



Weeping violins in party city As the Madras String Quartet performs its sophisticated music to a niche audience, it again underlines how high-brow and esoteric some classical arts are becoming in a brashly globalised Bangalore


here’s a severe formality about the manner in which the Madras String Quartet presents its intellectually teasing music. When they performed at the Jagriti theatre near Whitefield last Friday, the musicians didn’t speak a word: no titles, no composers, no ragas, no background. This reticence reflects the music they play, but it is also disconcerting to less knowledgeable audiences who would like some help in understanding the performance. The quartet walked in, dressed in white kurtas and dark trousers, and played for an hour. (On other occasions, they are dressed in Western formals). The organisers had cut the time allotted to them by half an hour,


and understandably, the musicians weren’t too happy about it. The Madras String Quartet plays a rare blend of Carnatic and Western classical music that brings to mind the experiments of Pandit Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin (East Meets West is the name of an epoch-making album these maestros recorded in 1968, and the iconic sitarist, now 92, is revered as the godfather of what has come to be known as ‘world music’). However, the quartet differs in many ways. While East Meets West had an array of instruments, including the lead ones which contrasted plucking (sitar) with bowing (violin), the quartet uses the same family of string instruments. The quartet is not a collaboration between an Indian master and a western maestro; rather, its members are all Indians whose simultaneous grasp of two culturally disparate idioms must surely be the envy of other experimental musicians. The Madras String Quartet, interestingly, features one musician each from the four southern Indian states. Led by V S Narasimhan, who hails from Mysore and lives in Chennai, the musicians work as sessions artistes at the film music studios: it is likely you have heard their playing as part of the grand background scores of the big hit films of our times. In the early part of their Bangalore concert, the quartet played compositions in ragas Bilahari and Chakravaka. I have been listening to

their music for at least 12 years, and I saint Vyasaraya. It is popular not just knew what to expect, but for new lis- on the Carnatic music stage, but also at performances. teners, their sophistication comes Bharatanatyam through the moment they begin play- Colonial Cousins, a pop band featuring ing, especially in the way they Hariharan and Leslie Lewis, has also approach the difficult gamakas (graces) recorded a version of this cheerful of Carnatic music, and integrate them song in praise of god Krishna. On a personal note: I was longing with the chords and counterparts of to hear two compositions the Western style. The lead was played by Mokshamugalada (raga Saramati) and Narasimhan, with many of his phrases Evari bodana (raga Abhogi), and was disappointed that finding stylish echoes they wound up before on the viola of B J they could play either. Chandran and the Fusing two The Saramati cello of V R Sekhar. purist forms piece is their most Once the most moving composition: widely heard classical can’t be easy, I was astonished to form in Bangalore, and the quartet find myself weeping Carnatic music has is pulling off the first time I heard now become niche, it, many years ago (I appreciated by a south what few am usually unmoved Bangalore minority in musicians can by the ‘sad’ songs I a city that has opened hear!). It is also its cosmopolitan arms to all varieties of artistic experience. among the most beautiful of saint Given that the Western classical idiom Tyagaraja’s compositions. The lead violin was amplified a bit also sounds esoteric to audiences tuned only to commercial FM radio more than necessary, and that become and more populist musical styles, the apparent when the ear strained to quartet probably finds that it is catch the beauty of the viola and the increasingly playing to a listenership cello, both of which played some lovewith a less than desired level of con- ly lines. But then, considering the overall artistry of the show, these are noisseurship. The quartet played, among other but quibbles. There is no question few composers, Tyagaraja and Papanasam musicians in India can perform music Sivan. The small audience applauded of this quality. The Madras String Quartet’s Krishna nee begane baaro with enthusiasm, perhaps because of its familiarity tracks and albums are available for with this Kannada composition by downloads at


talk|20 sep 2012|


ganesh utsava 3rd floor, 1st A Cross, 5th Block, Kormangala, September 14 to 16 9739942912 Â Food for thought: Get a discount of 50 per cent on your food bill. Opt for signature dishes such as Guntur chicken, chilli chicken, chicken sholay kebabs, mutton kebabs, nati kodi biryani and more. Sree Nandhini Palace, #21, 3rd Floor, New BEL Road, Mathikere, till September 15 9945237015

 Style your food: Learn the art of styling and cooking your food along with some tips on how to go about food photography. Michael Swamy and Gautam Chaudhry teach you how to market your brand and present your food. The fee is Rs 2,000. The Pink Poppadom, Ista Hotel, Swmi Vivekananda Road, Ulsoor, September 15, 11 am 25558888

may like. Rajdhani Thali restaurant, Whitefield and Indiranagar, till September 16 25939309

 Flavours of Rajasthan: On offer this weekend is a spread of delicacies from Rajasthan and Gujarat. The Rajwar Food Festival is inspired by the royal kitchens of the two states. Dal baati churma from Rajasthan and the kadhi from Gujarat are some of the specialities you

 Kebab and biryani delight: A variety of kebabs, Irani tandoor macchi and yakhni pulao, bukhari pulao and the Calcutta biryani are among the highlights at the Kebab and Biryani festival. Also relish curries such as murgh mussalam. Peshawari Tandoor, Turquoise,

 Something cheesy here: Sink your teeth into cheeseria, a paratha filled with cheese, with your choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian filling. Prices start at Rs 85. Available at all Kaati zone outlets,

Taste traditional vegetarian cuisine from six regions of Karnataka spanning over 125 dishes. The Utsava in its 50th year promises to be bigger and better than before. The 11-day extravaganza marks the popular festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. Talk picks a few performances for you for this week:

vegetarians can choose from subz biryani zaffrani, paneer biryani and soyabean biryani. Zaffran, #8, Excellency, off St. Marks Road, till September end 9900036971

September 19, Day 1: Watch K J Yesudas, popularly known as Jesudas, perform classical and devotional songs this weekend. Yesudas is a well known singer in the film fraternity. APS College grounds, DVG Road, Basvangudi, 7 pm 9590443016

 Chicken all the way: After the popular Peri Peri chicken, the latest offering by Nando’s is the Espetada. This is the traditional Portuguese dish of grilled chicken and peppers served on a skewer. Savour this fiery meal and wash it down with their lemon drink at Rs 399. Available at all Nando's outlets

 Ganesh Utsava: This is the Ganesh season, a time for art and culture, besides piety. Over 11 days, artistes keep you entertained. The Utsava will have some unique elements such as a huge ladoo weighing 6000 kg being distributed as prasad, a 30 feet tall Ganesh idol on display, and 50,000 diyas lit and 500 dancers performing six kinds of classical dance and performances by renowned artistes from across the country. Also part of the festival will be a food festival titled Aromas of Karnataka (APS College Grounds, Basavangudi).

 Treat for biryani lovers: At the Special Biryani lunch, non vegetarians can select from yakhni pulao, gosht biryani, jinga and raan biryani whereas


retail therapy Kitsch Mandi

 Rock on this weekend: Fans of alternative rock are in for a treat as Madrobe Walfunction is here from Mumbai. Watch Sankarshan Kini and Prathamesh Tambe on guitar and vocals, Manoj Thapliyal on drums, Crossby Fernandes on bass perform live. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, September 15, 8.30 pm 9867621648

 Tribute to Jaco Pastorius: Mishko M’Ba will be paying a tribute to Jaco Pastorius, renowned composer and electric bass players. Mishko M'Ba is a member of French band, Ziskakan and has performed with many artists such as Lucky Ali, Khaled and more. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, September 14, 8.30 pm 25278361

 Bicycle days live: Lend a year to Bangalore’s The Bicycle Days this weekend. This four-piece alternative band will take you through a journey of alternative, progressive and electronic art forms as they perform live. Counter Culture, 2D2, 4th cross, Dyavasandra Industrial Area , Whitefield, September 14, 8.30 pm 41400793

 Mumbai’s best is here: Want to enjoy some pop/ alternative music with folk influences? Watch Nikhil D’Souza and Zohran perform live this weekend. Their music is inspired by Sting, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and more. Watch members of Indus Creed, Vishal and Shekhar perform at this event. Phoenix Market City, 40/41, Industrial area, K R Puram, September 15, 7 pm 67266111

Madrobe Walfunction


 Ladies, ready to shop?: Purchase hand-woven saris, stoles and dupattas designed by Sarita Ganeriwala & Sarika Govind. With prices starting at Rs 1,000, the apparel is made from silk, hand spun cotton and linen. You can also find block printing fabrics here. Basava Ambara, 93, Kanakpura Road, Basavangudi, September 15 to 18 26561940  Saris for you: This festive season shop for sarees at Akkar as traditional saris with Kalamkari prints are combined with some embroidery and Banaras borders. Choose from a wide array of fabrics such as silk, ikats, chanderis, jute and more.

Under the Tree, 1st Floor, 27/34 Opposte Neeladri Mahal Apartments, Nandidurg Road, till September 20 9902624452 Â Dine in with classics: Does mismatched crockery and kitchenware bother you? Shop at Home Town and pick up colour coordinated dining and cooking wear. Select from bake ware, kitchenware, crockery, tableware, glassware as well as storage. Available at all Home Town outlets, till September 20 Â For all jeans lovers: Inspired by the street trend, Pepe Jeans presents Portebello jeans that are ‘stylish and comfortable’. Priced at Rs 1,499 onwards, you can pick up your fit and

colour. Available at all Pepe jeans stores  It’s 109oF in city: This festive season you can choose to be classic and subtle, as you pick a dress or tunic. The dresses have graphic and placement prints and interesting geometric embroideries, some with feminine lace prints. The fabrics used are viscose, lycra, rayon and more. 109oF, Inorbit Mall, Epip Industrial Area, near Satya Sai Hospital, Whitefield, also available at Shopper Stop, Pantaloons, Central and Reliance Trends  A little bling this weekend: Shop this weekend from brands such as Desi Polka, Pilgrim and Zoe Designs, Dash of Bling, Fancy Chillies, Funky Things and more. Workshops for children and a variety of food will be a part of this Kitsch Mandi. Pebble, Palace grounds, September 16, 1 pm onwards 974144413

September 20, Day 2: Kasturi Shankar and V Hari Krishna perform Kannda light music and Kannada musical night respectively. National College Grounds, 6 pm onwards September 21, Day 3: Catch Sangeetha Katti, a well known classical singer, who has worked with artistes such as Yesudas, Dr Rajkumar, followed by Devi Sri Prasad, a renowned music composer and singer who has charmed everyone with his compositions. National College Grounds, 6 pm onwards


talk|20 sep 2012|


theatre  Death and the Maiden: Written by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman and directed by Ashish Sen, this English play is about a woman who awaits the return of her husband. She is enveloped with fear and shares this with the man she loves. The play is inspired by life of Chile and Argentina in the 1970s and portrays many parts of the world, such as Syria, Tunisia, Iran and Libya. Jagriti, Varthur Road, Ramagondana Halli, Whitefield, September 14 to 23, Tuesady to Saturday- 8pm and Sunday 3pm and 6.30 pm 41248298

 Bollywood tunes all night: If you are the dancing sort, it’s time to let your hair down as you groove to Bollywood tunes with DJ Kiran and DJ Jasmeet this weekend. There are prizes to be won for best couple and best dancer. Sutra, The Lalit Ashok, Kumara Park, September 14, 7.30 pm 30527777  Sunday blast: Bangalore's very own DJ Rohit Barker will spin out some tunes from behind the

console, along with DJ Anjan Z and DJ Anisha Bakshi. DJ Rohit Barker is one of the more popular DJs in the city. He hosts a radio show and has been DJing with DJ Ivan. No Limits, #8, 2nd floor, Grand Allied Plaza Above Nalli Silks, Magrath Road, September 15, 7 pm 49333000 Â Friday night live: DJ Jasmeet and MJ Pijosh play some of the best and newest Bollywood numbers this weekend. Entry for

couples only. F Bar, #18 Ali Askar Road, off Cunningham Road, September 14, 8 pm 9900045800 Â Give into psytrance: UK-based DJ Paul Taylor brings you the latest in the genre. Also playing is DJ Nitin and PsyKing. Paul is releasing his third album and has played at clubs in Ibiza. IVY- The Unwind Island, Marathalli Ring Road, Kadubisanahalli, September 16, 4 pm onwards 66591999

Jalahalli cross- 1.45 pm

 Manjunath BA, LLB Kannada: Written and directed by Mohan, the film stars Jaggesh and Reema Vohra, and is a remake of the 2007 hit Malyalam film Hallo. Kapali- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 PVR- 10.20 am, 1.05 pm, 7  Arbitrage English: Directed by Nicholas Jarecki,

Arbitrage is the story of a hedge fund magnate who is desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire, makes an error and finds himself in a non redeemable situation. The film stars Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in the lead. PVR Cinemas, Koramangala10.05 am, 1.50 pm, 5.50 pm, 10 Gopalan Cinemas, Bannergatta3.05pm, 8 Â Tarbosaurus English: This animated, adventure film is the story of a young Tarbosaurus named Spot, who loses his family to a Tyrannosaurus called One-eye. The plot is about the difficulties that Spot faces as he avenges his family’s death. Q Cinemas, ITPL, Whitefield12.40 pm Rockline Cinemas,

 Barfi Hindi: Always up to some prank, Murphy fondly called as Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) by everyone, is the talk of his town. Even thought he cannot speak or hear, he is quite a charmer with the ladies. He shares a bitter-sweet relationship with two ladies, Shruthi (Ileana DCruz) and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), who turn his life upside down. Directed by Anurag Basu, the movie is light-hearted just like its tag line: Don't worry, be Barfi. Vision Cinemas- 10 am , 1 pm, 4,7 , 9.45 Abhinay theatre10.15 am, 1.15 pm, 4.15, 7.15 Urvashi Digital - 11 am, 2.30 pm, 6, 9.30 PVR Cinemas, Koramangala- 10 am, 1 pm, 3.10, 4, 6.10, 7, 9.10, 9.20 Cinemax, Total Mall Outer Ring Road- 10 am, 11, 12, 1 pm, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Fame Forum Value Mall, Whitefield- 10 am , 11.20, 12,45 pm, 2.10, 2.50, 3.35, 5, 5.40, 6.25, 7.50, 8.30, 9.15 Cinemax, Bellandur10 am, 11.30, 1, 2.30.4, 5.30, 7, 8.30,9.15,10 Inox, JP Nagar Central- 10

Bhardwaj and directed by Ashwini Kumar Chakre, this Hindi play is about a character who tricks policemen into admitting that they are part of a coverup. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, 16 G M T Road, Vasanthnagar, September 16, 5pm and 8 pm 41231340 Â The Prelude: Written by Chankya Vyas, the play set in the

am, 11.30, 12.30 pm, 2.25, 3.25, 5.20, 6.20, 8.15, 9.15 Inox, Magrath Road- 11 am, 12.30 pm, 1.55, 3.25,4.50, 6.20, 7.45, 9.20 Gopalan Mall, Banerghatta road- 10 am, 12.25 pm, 2.30, 5.15, 7.20, 10 Innovative multiplex, Marathalli- 11 am, 1.45 pm, 4.30, 7.15, 10 0Rex- 10.45 am, 1.30, 7, 9.15 Rockline cinemas1pm, 4, 6.30,9.30 Inox, Jayanagar10.55 am, 4.55 pm, 7.40

backdrop of the 1990s and is about a man who traces his journey from childhood to adulthood. The play tries to attempt and explore the religious beliefs, identity in today’s urban setup. Ranga Shankara, #36/2, 8TH Cross, 2nd phase, JP Nagar, September 18 and 19, 7.30 pm 26592777 Â Love stories: This weekend enjoy a storytelling session by Geetha Ramanujam. The narratives explore all aspects of love— happiness, death and losing someone special. Atta Galatta, 75, 2nd main, 1st block, Koramangala, September 15, 6 pm 30181626

Death and the Maiden

 Bechara Maara Gaya: Adapted from Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo, Bechara Maara Gaya is a humourous satire on corruption, infiltration and impersonation. Written by Chankya


 Jai Hind Kannada: Directed by Venugopal, Jai Hind is a patriotic film starring Pooja Gandhi and Sandesh in the lead roles. The film is inspired by real life incidents in the life of producer Srinivas Poojar, who served in the army. Aparna- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 PVR Cinemas, Koramangala- 2.40 pm


Rambo is a piggy tale The just-released Kannada flick Rambo catches your attention for its comic premise: how to use peoples’ susperstition to make money in the used car business. This is actor Sharan's 100th film, and boasts some technical finesse. Sharan and comedian Tabla Nani hog much of the limelight. The film offers no logical plot or punchy dialogue. There’s a lot of screaming and shouting, and the humour isn’t always as tasteful as you’d like. Actor Ganesh’s voice, used as a voiceover, does little to help the film along. The story revolves around two used car dealers who come up with a get-rich-quick plan. They use a pig to hit passing cars. The owners think it's a bad

omen and sell their vehicles dirt cheap. But then, they don’t realise that God Almighty can place obstacles in the way of the wicked. Debutant director M S Srinath has written the story and screenplay. Arjun Janya’s music, Krishna's camera work and Imran’s choreography add some value to Rambo. BASU MEGALKERI

talk|20 sep 2012|

Lohit Urs tops National Autocross Local favourite Lohit Urs of Team R3A has emerged the fastest driver in the third round of the Indian National Autocross championship conducted by the Mysore Automotive Racing near Lalith Mahal Palace in Mysore. Urs, who drives a Mitsubishi Cedia, overtook Chethan Shivram of Bangalore by three seconds in the finals to bag first place in the Class V (up to 3000 cc) category. Urs has earlier won several titles, including the 2011 Coffee Day Rally held as part of the Indian National Rally Championship Chikmagalur, and the 2008 Popular Rally in Kochi, where he was part of Team MRF. A total of 87 cars participated across the seven classes in the one-day event that drew hundreds of spectators.

Sir MV and Engineers’ Day September 15 is Engineers’ Day in India, the birthday of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, engineer, scholar, statesman, and nation-builder, and one of Karnataka’s most illustrious sons of the 20th century. Educationists agree engineering education today is in a crisis. It is thus a great opportunity to go back to his lessons, practices and values, as evident not only from the outstanding engineering of say, Mysore’s Krishna Raja Sagar dam, but also to some of his thoughts. Sit down with a volume of his Memoirs of My Working Life, first published in 1951 and reprinted recently by the Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust, and be surprised by how prescient he was. We lack “ambition and hustle,” he noted, and emphasised the values of enterprise, industry and innovation in building individual excellence and national power. The message resonates as strongly as ever. The book is priced at Rs 200.

Tool to check lake pollution Gubbi Labs, a private research collective based in Gubbi (near Tumkur), has introduced a free online tool to understand the impact of pollution on river ecosystems. The group says it will help school students and environmentalists explain how human activity changes the diatom (the common type of algae) composition in water bodies.


Lessons in citizenship The Citizenship Program is an interactive and basic training offered to all citizens. Its objective is to ignite people's sense of ownership and responsibility as citizens. The organisers believe our involvement in the affairs of our country as active citizens will have a huge impact on the quality of life that we and our future generations experience. This free event is open to all, and will be held at Jaaga, KH Double Road, on Saturday, September 15, from 9 am to 1 pm. For details, contact: Kadambini Devarakonda at or log on to

The tool uses SimRiver, a simulation software package developed by Dr Shigeki Mayama of Tokyo Gakugei University and his co-workers. It is designed to help users study and understand the relationship between

human activity, river environments and diatoms easily. Currently this program is available in English, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil (besides some international languages), and the group is currently in the process of adding other major Indian languages. Currently, volunteers from the group are doing a free demonstration of the tool in many schools across Bangalore, and surrounding regions. Schools or public organisations interested in arranging a demonstration can contact Gubbi Labs. Alternatively, they can visit their website:

100 years of Dylan’s hero Guthrie This year marks the birth centenary of Woody Guthrie, the American folk singer who inspired Bob Dylan. In fact, Dylan shaped his musical persona after his hero’s. Dozens of other musicians, including Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, also took inspiration from Guthrie. Called “the last of the great European troubadours and first singersongwriter punk rocker”, Guthrie is revered as the founding father of protest music in America. Guthrie saw himself as a singer of “hardhitting songs for hard-hit people,” and is famous for such classics as This Land is Your Land and Zacco and Vanzetti. He spent a good part of his early years as a hobo-like travelling musician. His songs, very much in the vein of our own radical

folk poets Gaddar and Baba Nagarjun, spoke for a whole generation of Americans who lived through the harsh conditions of the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression.


For stylish beach holidays

ere’s where those of you heading out for a beach weekend can stock up on essentials. And when we say beach essentials, we mean almost anything that you may require while getting your hands dirty with the sand and sea. The Beach Company is a package full of colourful surprises and has something for everyone. Though the selection for men and children is small, women have a wide array to choose from. Think flowing dresses in bright hues, swimsuits, bright sarongs, resort jewellery, statement footwear and more. The website is simple but attractive, with dropdown menus that won’t confuse you. While much of the stuff displayed comes from the Sri Lankan brand Arugam Bay, they have recently started stocking picks from Crocs too. The keyword here is functionality, and each product has a utility value besides being stylish. We love the colourful and trendy footwear and the transparent Arugam Bay bags that aren’t so easily available, and in so many options, at Bangalore stores. You will be prompted to sign up, but can continue as a guest as you shop. They accept most common payment methods and come with 30day return policy. For more, log onto


book talk

talk|20 sep 2012|

‘I don’t think much

who I write for’ It was publishers who pushed Ruskin Bond into the slot of ‘children’s writer.’ His new novella—centred around a colourful Maharani —once again shows he’s really everybody’s writer


eparting from his usual theme of ordinary people, Ruskin Bond tells the story of a “spoilt, selfish, beautiful” widow of the Maharajah of Mastipur. But like in most of his work, the setting is largely Dehradun and Mussorie, bringing out the warmth of these small towns he is known to capture so skilfully. Maharani is written in the autobiographical style and Bond features himself as a childhood friend of the Maharani, whom he fondly calls HH (Her Highness). Besides the Maharani and her fetish for all things luxurious, there are a handful of other interesting characters—a fake nun on the run for murder, a diplomat’s wife with a visible affection for the writer, a little boy obsessed with movies, and more. Bond’s sarcastic takes on the likes of Jim Corbett, who makes a brief appearance, make for interesting reading. Interspersed with this is some very delicate writing, proving yet again his mastery as a storyteller. Overall, the book is a soft and easy read that is mildly disturbing in some parts. In this candid interview, the 78-year-old author tells Talk about the book, its inspiration, and more.


Maharani Rs 199, Penguin

usually friendly but they are not too scary either. They can’t compete with horror on television. They are usually there to create an atmosphere. Both children and adults like to be scared. A 10-year-old girl once complained how my ghosts weren’t scary enough. Was becoming a children’s author a conscious decision? When I started writing at the age of 17-18, my first novel The Room on the Roof was for the general reader. I never specifically wrote for children but some of my works were being considered suitable for younger people. Publishers then began asking me to write for children. I write for myself and don’t always think much.

larger work of fiction. I do get asked ‘Are the stories true?’ a lot as I sometimes put myself into my books. I write in the first person and most of my books follow an autobiographical tone. It helps me tell a story better if I put myself in it. I also grew up reading authors like Somerset Maugham who followed a similar style. I always call it fiction though, as incidents are What are the things you need to take created to make the book the way it care of when writing for children? It would have to be a good story, have is. a good central charcter the children Is Maharani, or HH (Her Highness) as can identify with... It needn’t always be in the first person, but it is imporyou refer to her in the book, real? Frankly, I have met more than one tant to get into the story when one is Maharani. But the actual one in the writing. It must hold the child’s book I have met only in my imagina- attention from the first page. And if tion. Maharani began as a short story possible, make it a positive story. initially but I continued writing. Even though it talks about a charac- What is the nicest and the most critical ter, the story is more a portrait of hill thing you have heard from a child station life in the 1960s and people about your writing? who don’t exist anymore. I thought I was at a school for a reading session about this story for a while, I only once. A 12-year-old girl was asked by write about people who are impor- her teacher, ‘What do you think of Ruskin Bond’s writing?’ She looked at tant to me. Why the negative take on Jim Corbett? I often try to burst balloons of selfimportance. He was made out to be more of a hero than he is. My grandfather knew him. Corbett did shoot tigers though. But there was a lot of exaggerated hero worship involved.


me and after scanning me for a while and said, ‘You are not a bad writer’. I can live with that. What are the advantages of writing for adults? You have more freedom to talk about physical relationships and violence. Writing for children is a discipline. Does it help your writing when you live in the hills, or is it better in a town like Dehra Dun? A writer should ideally be able to write anywhere. But staying in the hills has its advantages. You know more people, you have more friends, and things are less impersonal. You are closer to other humans and hence have more stories to tell of the smalltown life. I wanted to live in the hills as I thought it would help my writing, and it did. What makes you avoid book launch tours and literature festivals? In the ’40s and ’50s, when I began writing, there were no launch parties. You didn’t have personal publicity. Publishing is more marketing-driven now. I have been invited to seven or eight parties in the next two months. If I went to all of them, I would barely find time to write. But I guess they do serve a purpose. Do you read a lot of young Indian writers? Which ones do you think will go a long way? I am not completely cut off. Every week, there are new sensations. Probably there are more writers than readers out there. When I started out it was hardly a fashionable thing and people thought I was an idiot.

Nearly every book of yours, including Maharani, has a ghost creeping in from somewhere. What lies behind your fascination for ghosts? I grew up reading and listening to ghost stories. Though I must admit I haven’t met many personally... they are quite elusive that way. When I am out of ideas I can always cook up ghost stories. I fall back on ghosts. They are not

Why did you find it necessary to begin Maharani with a disclaimer saying this is not a true story but some of the happenings could be? Usually people put in a formal line saying some of the characters may or may not bear resemblance to actual people. I decided to do it in a different way. Sometimes people in my books do bear resemblance to people I meet, but the events are created for a COURTESY: NAZIA FATIMA


The post-mortem that never happened Playing detective by chance, the author saves a friend from being sold off as a bonded labourer

uddayya was one of my dearest childhood friends, and I felt an ineffable affection for him. Whenever I had to keep vigil at our arecanut farm, I would take him along with me. We competed with each other in climbing arecanut trees. Though we would each make it to the top almost simultaneously, I would be tired, whereas he wouldn’t show a hint of fatigue. He would tell me, “You know, you’ve got a lot of courage.” Guddayya, a Dalit boy, didn’t own an arecanut farm, but I would be astonished at his felicity in mastering farming—and arboreal— skills. Once he was up on a tree, he would loop around with a monkey’s panache. He looked like he was made of granite; his taut sinews and muscular arms lent his swarthy body a strange magnetism. Though he was not exactly unintelligent, his father Marappa didn’t feel any need to educate him. But whenever I went to his place, his mother Arasamma would gush about her ambition to get him educated and see him become a successful government official. Once, when I was at their home, Marappa scolded Guddayya: “People of our caste can’t learn from books. At least



learn farming so you can earn a livelihood.” Arasamma, pregnant at the time, overheard him and cut in with a hail of quick fire retorts: “Ha, you’re a man, are you? You act like you’ve given us all plenty! First of all, stop giving all your earnings to that witch Hanumi. Your son has come of age and you want to send him to work so you can get drunk on his earnings. That’s the kind of man you are. Guddayya may not understand, but I can see through you. But get this into your head— you have only one son. Give him education; see that he becomes a big official. Though I’m only a woman, I will run the house and get him educated. Do you understand?” Since all these insults were hurled at him in my presence, Marappa turned livid with rage. He said, “You woman, I’m a man and I’ll do what I like. You’ve not come to me free. I paid a bride price of Rs 50 when I brought you here. Whatever you earn belongs to me. Would Guddaya be born without my fathering him? So whatever he earns is mine. I’ve been quiet for too long! That’s why you have been shooting off your big mouth!” Then he kicked his pregnant wife in the shoulder and Arasamma, with her huge tummy, fell on her side. Guddayya sprang to his mother’s help, pulled her up and helped her sit straight. He gave his father a withering stare. His father thundered, “Gudda, you shouldn’t go to school from tomorrow. Your mother is pregnant. Till she resumes her work for daily wages, you take up

crime folio

talk|20 sep 2012|


Fabled ranconteur and Bangalore’s top-notch criminal lawyer brings you moving, sensational and bizarre stories from 40 years of his practice

some work. You don’t have a fatherin-law to feed you for free.” C H HANUMANTHARAYA I felt it would be improper for me to stay there any longer. I was in shock. I said, “Gudda, I’ll see you pencils. I’ll give you all the pocket later,” and quickly left the place. money I get. I’ll ask my father’s elder I had seen Marappa in front of brother to advise your father suitmy uncle, bowing repeatedly and ably. This uncle is a very good man.” looking the very picture of humility. Even as I was saying all this, I It was for the first time I had seen felt that Guddayya may not find him in this other incarnation. I felt solace in my assurances. I lapsed Marappa was a wicked man. How into silence. Then we bought some could he kick his wife the way he sweets and ate them. I felt I’d never would a buffalo? have another friend like Guddayya I was walking along, whisper- to share those rare moments of haping these words to myself, when piness. Guddayya came running behind me Guddayya was the only Dailt and put his arm on my shoulder. “I boy in our class. Many others had couldn’t stay at home,” he said, con- failed at the primary school level tinuing, “I came to and even those be with you because who had passed I feel so comfortable couldn’t continue ‘She jumped with you. My mothas they were needinto the well er is weeping. His ed to do household because of her kicking her today is chores or to work husband’s illnothing, he has on the farm. If I ran beaten her with a into them, they treatment. He stick countless would refuse to will now sell times. My mother smile at me. Rather, Guddayya as a tells me when I was acting like adults bonded labourer earning their livelia child he wasn’t like this. She says it’s hood, their lungis to someone’ after his association hitched up around with that other their waists, they woman Hanumi, who has per- would go about with a fake swagger. formed some sorcery on him, that Of late, I had stopped looking at he has been behaving like this.” I them. walked along without saying anyThe next morning, I was going thing. out for my ablutions when I saw a “I don’t know what racket my group of people running. I stopped a father is going to kick up tonight boy of about my age and asked him, when he comes home drunk,” he “What’s the matter?” added. “It seems my mother is going Without stopping, he blurted to deliver a baby in about a week’s out, “Your friend Guddayya’s mothtime. I should be going home.” er has jumped into a well and is Incoherently, I muttered to dead.” I started running with the him: “I’ve already handed you the crowd. As I got close to the well, I notebooks Bhujanga Rao (a school- saw people pulling out Arasamma’s mate) had given me. In future, I’ll body. give you all the notes and not to I heard a young girl tell her anyone else. Don’t ask your mother friend, “What a huge tummy she for money to buy has! Maybe she had twins inside. pens and Look at her tummy now, it has

memoirs swollen even further. She jumped into the well because she couldn’t cope with her husband’s ill-treatment. She has left her only son Guddayya an orphan. Marappa will now sell Guddayya as a bonded labourer to someone and happily go to his mistress Hanumi.” She went on, “All the boys and girls in our house have given up studies, but Guddayya hasn’t. Instead, he flaunts his flair for studies…” Guddayya’s hair was all messed up and his eyes were red. Because of all the screaming, his voice had become feeble. In all the jostling, his shirt was torn. Some four women who lived in his neighbourhood were holding him. As soon as Guddayya saw me, he let out a sob: “Hanumantha, now I’m orphaned…” Marappa was sobbing and beating his chest. He would go close to hug his son, but Guddayya kept pushing his hands away. Suddenly, in a frenzy, Guddayya shook off the women holding him, and fell on his mother’s body, rolling on it back and forth and sobbing inconsolably. At that time, some people from my street came by, and seeing me standing next to the dead body, waved me away from the spot. They were the kind to present to my uncle a report on how they had found me so close to a Dalit’s dead body. I would get a thrashing from my uncle, I thought to myself. But I didn’t care. I stood there transfixed, saying to myself that I wouldn’t mind being thrashed for Guddayya’s sake. Suddenly a clamour broke out in the crowd. “Oh, the police inspector has come.” I saw the policemen arriving with a doctor. Ordering people away with his baton, the inspector said: “Stand away all of you. This is not a case of suicide, this is murder. The doctor is here to do the postmortem.” I asked a villager, Goorappa, what a post-mortem was. He said it meant they would cut open the body to find out how the person had died. The inspector then gave instructions to a village official: “Make a small clearing in this bush and put the body there. Spread some leaves on the ground, and cover the body with a gunny sack. The doctor will carry out the post-mortem.” The official, with the help of some four people, placed the dead body in the clearing. People started whispering, “Oh, now the body is in the hands of the police.” The village chief then came forward and said, “No policeman has so far taken a dead body out of this village. May be she jumped in the well because she lost her mind. Who will murder her?”

talk|20 sep 2012|

“Well, if I don’t carry out the postmortem, I’ll lose my job,” said the inspector. Quietly, I slipped away from the crowd, climbed a tree and perched unseen on a branch. Near the body stood two Dalit boys, whose task was to keep the dogs at bay. In a while, the doctor appeared on the scene wearing a white robe, his hair combed neatly. The doctor drove away all the boys standing nearby. He instructed them to not come anywhere close till he called them. As the boys moved back, the doctorlit a cigarette and started smoking. He never opened the case he had in his hand. I was bursting with curiosity. I thought of what Goorappa had told me about the post-mortem. The inspector had a long, tortuous discussion with the doctor and then handed him some money. They talked for quite a while and smoked two cigarettes. Then the inspector shouted for the village official and a few servants and told them, “Don’t allow anyone to touch this body. Bury it along with the gunny sack.” After they left, I came down the tree and went around to where the crowd was and looked for Goorappa. When I found him, I asked, “What is this, Goorappa? You lied to me when you said a postm o r t e m meant cutting open the body.”

Goorappa replied, “Why would I lie? Didn’t the doctor take the body to a lonely spot and examine it a little while ago? That was the postmortem.” I said, “No, Goorappa, I had hid myself on a tree overlooking

the spot. Neither the inspector nor the doctor could see me. The doctor didn’t open his case at all, so where’s the question of his cutting open the body? The doctor was busy smoking, and then the inspector came and they smoked together. The inspector then gave a wad of notes to the doctor before calling out to the servants to bury the body”. Goorappa fell into thought, biting his lower lip, and exclaimed, “Oh, is that the way it was? The inspector told Marappa that if the doctor performed the post-mortem, it would be proven that the death had occurred due to strangulation and he would have to arrest him. Then all the members of the panchayat met and agreed that the prestige of the village was at stake.” “They told the panchayat head, the village chief, that a case from our village shouldn’t go to the courts and requested him to find a way out. The chief then gave some money to the inspector. When


the village chief told Marappa about it, Marappa said he was in no condition to return this loan, and the chief could keep Guddayya in his house as a bonded labourer.” After a few days, Goorappa got someone to write a letter to the inspector to teach him a lesson. “You came to our village and pretended you had carried out a postmortem after accepting a bribe,” the letter said. “Now we have come to know that the post-mortem was not carried out, and we have witnesses to prove it. If you do not return the money you have accepted as a bribe, we will complain to your higher-ups and get the body exhumed for another inspection.” Soon after that, the inspector came to our village. He returned the money to the chief, vowed that he would never ever again visit our village and vanished on his motor-cycle, looking like a desiccated leaf. I was overwhelmed with delight; it was only because I had played the role of detective that I could save my friend from becoming a bonded labourer, and he could continue to go to school. Translated by BasavarajUrs


talk|20 sep 2012|

31 Prof Good Sense „ I was involved with this guy I shall call A. It was an on-and-off relationship, more like a one-way street. It was a bad experience and I eventually decided to call it off. All this happened a long time ago though. We have a mutual friend, also my ex's childhood friend. We have always sort of liked each other, and became something like best friends. But now I think we are attracted to each other. In fact, I am falling for him, and I think he loves me, too. I’m writing to ask you if it’s okay to go ahead with this, despite him being my ex's best friend? Neha (name changed), Shantinagar

Off The Mark

By Mark Parisi

1st Cross

Talk’s weekly crossword for Bangaloreans who know their way about town camp (6) 15 The Egg ____ : Restaurant for egg lovers on St. Marks Road (7) 16 Our Governor would like the netas to give up this vice (8) 18 Our state government will release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from this reservoir (11) 19 Bangalore's favourite alcoholic beverage (4) 20 The garbage from our city is disposed off at this landfill (6)

4 5 6 10 11 12 13

1 3

DOWN Where three rivers meet in Karnataka (7) Senior advocate who helped broker the

Last week’s solution Across: 4 Gudavi, 6 Bahadur, 7 Srinath, 8 Cinepolis, 9 Rex, 10 Sankey, 12 Banahalli, 14 Jayanagar, 16 Shimoga, 19 Oxford, 20 Hi-Fliers, 21 Land.

2 5 7

Across Farm owner in the news for shooting at extortionists (8) Tourist destination which used to be the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire (5) Rs 5 lakh was recently stolen from a Canara Bank ATM on this road

(11,4) ____ ___ Express: Comic book lovers had a blast at this convention in the city recently (5,3) 9 Poly clinic which shares the name of the road it's on (7) 14 The elephants for the Mysore Dussehra were trained at this 8

Down: 1 Goa, 2 Ugadi, 3 Cauvery, 5 Vettori, 7 Solar city, 11 Karavalli, 13 Cattle, 15 Apollo, 17 Hubli, 18 BWSSB.


arrangement mentioned in 18 Across (4,7) Very talented player in our IPL side (5,5) A leaky LPG cylinder pipe claimed a life of a factory worker in this area (11) Curry containing pork (6) ___ Studio: North Indian restaurant off Race Course Road (5) Aussie paceman in our IPL side (4,6) Shobha ____ : The only lady in the Karnataka State Cabinet (10) Over 1000 of these have been dug up in Bangalore and other cities in the past 2 weeks (9) Falls near Rajiv Gandhi National Park (6)

When you say you had an ‘on-and-off’ relationship, it means you were not serious about each other. Both of you were unwilling to commit to the relationship. You also said the relationship was one-sided, and that was not such a good sign either. Any serious relationship is reciprocal. You are now ‘falling’ for his best friend. You must feel secure in a relationship. For now, enjoy the friendship and do not worry too much about the outcome. You are willing to experiment, but afraid of love. Keep your options open and go ahead with whatever you decide. You can’t go too wrong if you understand that a relationship must be based on trust, and work for both of you.

Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Mail queries to

Precocious pun I regularly take my 11-year-old daughter Kavya for morning walks at the neighbourhood park. Almost every day, we bump into her friend Radha, who is invariably accompanied by her grandmother. One morning, Kavya asked Radha, a Tamil, why her mother never accompanied her to the park. Radha replied her mother was busy preparing to go to work, and wasn't free to take her for a walk. To this, Kavya said, without batting an eyelid, "Oh, so it's paati every day!" (Paati is grandmom in Tamil). Aparna Subu, California, USA Share the humour in your life, multiply the fun! Keep those anecdotes coming to:

talk|20 sep 2012|

Return of Mrs India When Sridevi bid farewell to Bollywood with an appropriately titled Judaai in 1997, a collective sigh of relief had rung throughout the nation. Notorious for exaggerated facial expressions and annoying on-screen tantrums, she had made even her illustrious predecessor Hema Malini seem lacking in the melodrama department. But perhaps owing to the surfeit of smart, bold heroines playing out their roles with deplorably realistic acting, it seems some people had actually started to miss the over-the-top charms of Sridevi. What else explains her comeback in English Vinglish, directed by R Balki’s wife Gauri Shinde?


Emergency procedure Fed up with its staff getting regularly beaten up by angry relatives of patients, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in New Delhi has hired bar bouncers, bodyguards, and wrestlers, sporting muscles and tattoos, to replace its middle-aged, pot-bellied guards. This governmentrun hospital has faced one attack a month, and staffers had gone on strike 20 times in the last six years, demanding better security. One of the

The science of swearing A research study at Keele University in the UK (where they actually study such things) on the psychology of swearing revealed some interesting findings. Participants who had to keep a hand in a container of freezing water were allowed to swear in one trial, while in a second, they weren’t. The researchers found that when swearing, participants' heart rates increased, as did the amount of time they were

capable of withstanding the freezing water—from about a minute to a minute and a half. In other words, the swearing made them feel better. But the study also found that the swearing-aspainkiller method, though intriguing, becomes less effective with repeated use: and the “swearing benefit” is largest for those who swear least. Now you know why we swear, but, also why we shouldn’t—at least, not too often.

doctors, injured during an attack in April, told a news magazine that there hasn’t been a single attack since the new bouncers came on the scene. A bouncer were quoted as saying, “We are not allowed to rough anyone up.” But they have their methods. First they talk nice. If troublemakers don’t listen, they take them to the Casualty Medical Officer’s room to sort things out. And if that doesn’t work, they call the police. Too bad, but we are inclined to believe it. Especially when it’s a bouncer telling us.

Flushed: Toilet humour Shoot the messenger. With the arrest of Aseem Trivedi for cartoons lampooning the political establishment, our rulers have again deployed their favourite method of

dealing with criticism. Here’s one of the cartoons that got Delhi all riled up. Okay, it’s tasteless, but since when have we started jailing people for poor taste?


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